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Letters for April 3-9, 2003

... um, the Air & Sea Show? As someone who is on the nonviolent political left, I very much commend New Times for the superb cover story, "War Pigs" (March 20). Although I have had my differences with your paper previously, Bob Norman's story was excellently written, with a perfect analysis of why the Bush administration purposely subverted the United Nations and wanted to go to war.

War and the military in this country are businesses. They constantly must re-create new "enemies," much like a Hollywood movie. After the cold war ended, they purposely antagonized Arabs and created the militant wing of Islam with their actions, including backing Israel's illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. America has five times the military budget of any other country in the world, and these new phony wars have created a new "need" for further increases. The greatest threat to the American people is the arrogant attitude of its right wing.

However, you must also relate this to our local situation and editorially come out against the "Air and Sea" military show that occurs each May on Fort Lauderdale Beach. It is nothing more than a promotion of the war business and should be stopped. It also interferes in the use of the beach by regular beachgoers.

Dennis Marsella

Fort Lauderdale

Morality, baby, is complex: Capt. Jay Thomas Aubin, a Marine from Waterville, Maine, my home state, died last weekend. His parents live in Machias, my first posting for the Bangor, Maine, Daily News many years ago. On Saturday, we learned that two Australian journalists were killed covering the war in Iraq.

I cannot tell you how sickened Bob Norman's column "Dirty George and the War Pigs" left me. It was a rant against the commander of our military forces during this time of war. Norman seems comfortable assuming the role of "Lord Haw Haw,'' the British traitor who mocked Winston Churchill to boost Nazi morale during World War II. Likewise, after Pearl Harbor, there were those like Norman who sought to undermine national unity with personal attacks on Franklin Roosevelt, the "crippled Jew lover, etc.'' Mr. Norman is in good company.

We can count on him, I expect, to rhetorically spit on our troops when they come home after the war, because attacking one's country during a time when Americans are dying in battle is such an uplifting "moral" statement. And he's such a "moral" person?

John Day

Fort Lauderdale

Bob Norman responds: I agree there is a similarity between World War II and the Iraq war: Like Adolf Hitler, George W. Bush is threatening the world's stability with an unjustiified act of raw aggression. And I would never say a negative word about our brave troops. I just wish their commander in chief were worthy of them.

Harvey, however...: In "Dirty George and the War Pigs," Bob Norman called certain Jews "ultra-Zionists thirsting for Middle Eastern conquest." Yet the facts and truth show Norman to once again lie about these people. How, Bob, could these people be "thirsting for Middle Eastern conquest" when one considers the following?

1. They gave the entire Sinai peninsula back to Egypt when they made peace with Egypt. They offered back Gaza, but the Egyptians turned it down. How smart of Egypt!

2. When peace with Jordan was reached, certain lands Jordan coveted were given back to that nation.

3. Only when Israel was attacked by Arab armies and fought defensive wars against Arab aggressors -- and won those wars -- did Israel "conquer" land. To date, Israel has not annexed those lands. Rather, it waits for a peace partner -- a real peace partner (not the murderous Yasser Arafat) -- with whom to negotiate.

If the so-called "ultra-Zionists" (a term this Jew, who supports a safe, peaceful Israel, has never heard before) were "thirsting for Middle Eastern conquest," as Norman claimed, Israel would have done none of the above.

As Israel has never fought a so-called "Palestinian entity" until the first Intifada began, why does Norman continue to lie to your readers that Israel stole "Palestinian" land?

Harvey Slavin


Construction convertibles? Susan Eastman's March 20 article, "Redeveloping Your Radials," was interesting. Just checked my tires, and the right front has a nail. Not a surprise. A couple of months ago, I took a sheetrock knife out of one of them. I ride motorcycles with people from all over the United States and Europe. It is interesting that in Europe, open vehicles are not allowed. There is no construction debris on the roads like there is here. Florida seems to be a bit worse than most states; immigrants are used to flatbeds and unsecured cargo. Thanks for the article. Hopefully someone will read it and do something about it.

John Badeen

via the Internet

Is there irony in your H20? Hey, Dave Flaherty and Bill Hargett! Best bring your bottled water if you're heading over to my neighborhood. Imagine my chagrin after reading Bob Norman's March 13 article titled "Don't Drink the Water" regarding Palm Aire's water quality and then having the two "disgruntled employees," Chris Fox and Nick Hoffman, show up at my front door to test our neighborhood water to document the cover-up in our community.

A city worker came out to flush the fire hydrant in front of my house, claiming this was a "routine flushing." Routine? What's routine about the hydrants of our neighborhood being opened at 10:30 at night and later for the second time in one month? The hydrant had run for about a half hour to 45 minutes before water out of our kitchen tap was tested with a standard kit to detect chlorine, the chemical needed to kill off all the yummy bacteria that swims in our water supply. The results? A chlorine level of barely 0.2 ppm, which falls drastically short of the 0.6 ppm legal limit. Nice. And all this time, I thought I was just saving money on bottled water... seems I was simply throwing out the welcome mat to bacteria and infections.

My neighbors complain of mold in their dishwashers and/or washers. A 2-year-old recently contracted a parasite, and the doctor determined that this was from unsanitary water. Another neighbor recently made the switch from bottle to tap water and is suddenly being plagued with stomach problems. I have recently been treated for a urinary-tract infection, the cause of which is unknown to my doctor. Could this have any correlation to Fox and Hoffman's findings, or has our community become mysteriously stricken with an unexpected bout of bad health and fungus? But the water's safe, right, guys? Fox and Hoffman discussed their stories at length with my mother and me that night, and I personally was shocked at what's going on. I find it ridiculous that Pompano Beach public works administrator Flaherty asserts Fox and Hoffman are "disgruntled employees." I wasn't aware that concerned was a synonym for disgruntled, Flaherty, but thanks for the insight.

Flaherty's alleged treatment of employees and flagrant disregard for public health is appalling. The people of Palm Aire are entitled to a thorough investigation conducted by an independent party as to the validity of the City of Pompano's water testing findings and the plant's procedures. It was brought to my attention that an investigation was allegedly conducted by a county health department employee who has "connections" to the water department. Slightly ironic, ain't it?

So, to clarify any confusion and to clear up the doubt swirling around this situation like the bacteria and funk in our drinking water, let's get that investigation going and get this matter out in the open.

Oh, and don't drink the water in the meantime.

Lauren Cusolito

Pompano Beach

An expert speaks: After reading Bob Norman's article on Pompano Beach drinking-water problems, all I can say is that I'm shocked! As an independent consultant to the water/wastewater industry (specifically in the areas of laboratory/regulatory compliance), I'm ashamed to say that while I'm trying to help clients in other states, these types of shenanigans are going on in my own back yard (I recently moved from Palm Aire to Margate).

I commend Mr. Norman, Mr. [Chris] Fox, and Mr. [Nicholas] Hoffman for exposing the bureaucracy that threatens the public health and safety. Lord knows there is enough of that in our government system. We shouldn't also have to worry about what's in the water we are drinking. Who needs Saddam Hussein and his biological weapons when we have Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Gerard Weber, director of the city's water lab, right here?

Keep up the good work!

Yvonne M. Fernandez


Spoiling the editor's point: Chuck Strouse points out that there is a conflict between the Hollywood City Commission's push for development in downtown Hollywood and the Broward County School Board's lack of action to help Hollywood Central Elementary's overcrowding problem ("Steal from the Kiddies, Spoil the Rich," March 6). It appears to escape him that these are two separate bodies, not parts of one organization. Something needs to be done -- true. But to slam the Hollywood commission, as Mr. Strouse does for almost his whole essay, seems to miss the point entirely. People, including the New Times staffer Mr. Strouse refers to, want to live in and near downtown Hollywood, and it seems that it would be the commission's responsibility to create opportunities for them to do so. A thriving downtown is good for everyone.

More classroom space is needed in Hollywood, yes. But it seems that if Mr. Strouse wants to help, he would be more effective in pointing out why the School Board has not dealt with this issue. Remember that school overcrowding is not actually a consequence of development -- it's a consequence of people moving to an area. By writing the article he did, Mr. Strouse seems to suggest they should not be allowed to move to downtown Hollywood.

Alesh Houdek



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